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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
September 18, 2021
  • Remembering 9/11 and 9/15 Two Decades Later

    On September 11, 2021, our nation solemnly recognized the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. More than 3,000 individuals lost their lives that day; thousands later died due to injuries or long-term effects, and countless more were lost to hate or war in the two decades since. For the Sikh community and many others–including Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians–this anniversary also revealed the worry and fear for the safety of loved ones that we experienced in response to the wave of hate targeting our communities in the aftermath of the attacks. Read this message from Executive Director Satjeet Kaur about the 9/11 anniversary and the 20 years of discrimination, resilience, and commitment to advocacy since; you can also read an op-ed co-authored by Satjeet on the anniversary, and learn more about a relevant congressional resolution supported by the Sikh Coalition and introduced by Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Judy Chu (D-CA).

    Four days later, on September 15, 2021, we recognized 20 years since Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed in the first deadly post-9/11 hate crime. His murder marked the start of a wave of backlash; through the years, it metastasized and mixed with other kinds of hate, from Islamophobia to white supremacy and anti-Black racism to anti-Asian COVID-19 xenophobia.

    On the 20th anniversary of Balbir Ji’s murder, we joined the Sodhi family and the Global Sikh Alliance in hosting Honoring Balbir Singh Sodhi Through Shared Resilience in the Face of Hate. During the event, community members across faiths and backgrounds joined multiple interfaith leaders and public officials in furthering Balbir Ji’s legacy of interfaith understanding, generosity, and love, while also recognizing all the lives lost to hate in the last two decades. We are grateful to the Sodhi family for welcoming us to be a part of this important event. Click here to watch the recorded livestream, view the Facebook album, and read reporting of the commemoration. 
  • New COVID-19 Guidance for Gurdwaras and Parents

    On August 18, 2021, the Sikh Coalition–in partnership with the North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association and the Sikh Family Center–released new COVID-19 guidance for gurdwaras.

    As gurdwaras across the country begin to operate at pre-pandemic levels of attendance, we must recognize that our sangats have pockets of those who are yet to receive a vaccine and those who may be vaccinated but still at high risk (e.g. those who are immunocompromised). Additionally, since vaccines are not available for children under age 12, many sangat members have vaccinated and unvaccinated family members living together. As a result, it is still our collective responsibility to protect those who are vulnerable. Click here to review our recommended COVID-19 guidelines for gurdwaras in English and Punjabi.

    In late August, the Sikh Coalition also hosted a Sikh medical professional and Sikh public school teacher for our latest Vaccine ਵੀਰਵਾਰ discussing parent concerns around the risks of COVID-19 as children head back to school. Click here to watch the full episode with Pediatric Infectious Disease Subspecialist Dr. Jasjit Kaur and teacher Amrit Kaur.
  • Update on Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan

    In August, as the security situation in Afghanistan rapidly deteriorated around the United States’ military withdrawal, the Sikh Coalition joined partner organizations and allies across four different countries in advocating for the evacuation and permanent resettlement of nearly 300 vulnerable Afghan Sikhs and Hindus. Despite these relentless efforts and the cooperation of governments from around the world, many Sikhs and Hindus were unable to leave Afghanistan before the American withdrawal. Those remaining in the country still face the threat of genocide.

    Learn more about these evacuation and resettlement efforts here. The Sikh Coalition remains in contact with a wide range of government officials and will continue to advocate for Afghan Sikhs and Hindus to be evacuated to safety. We also continue to urge vigilance for Sikh Americans here at home given the historic false conflation between the Taliban and underrepresented communities in our country.
  • New Classroom Resource: Teaching Beyond 9/11

    On September 3, 2021, the University of Pennsylvania began to roll out a new slate of resources around Teaching Beyond September 11–including a module specifically focused on the Sikh American experience, which is made up of two lesson plans. This product is a free multimodal curriculum for high school and college educators and students which addresses the ongoing global impact of 9/11. Each module focuses on a year between 2001 and 2021; the module on the Sikh American experience, which was written in part by Sikh Coalition staff, is centered around 2012 and includes an exploration of the attack on the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, gurdwara during that year.

    To explore Teaching Beyond September 11th and share it with your student’s teachers, visit the University of Pennsylvania’s website here. If you have questions about how to approach educators with this content, you can reach out to education@sikhcoalition.org for guidance. As a reminder, you can find all of the Sikh Coalition’s back-to-school resources on our website, including collections specifically tailored towards parents and educators
  • 20 Years Beyond Our Founding 

    The Sikh Coalition was founded in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 to provide free legal aid to Sikhs facing bias, bigotry, and backlash. Uplifted by our community’s courage, strength, and unwavering resilience in the face of adversity, our organization has expanded over the last 20 years to provide premier legal, advocacy, community, education, and media support to 500,000 Sikhs in the United States. In the weeks ahead, we look forward to honoring this milestone anniversary as we remain committed to ensuring that Sikhs and other underrepresented minorities can practice their faith fearlessly for the next 20 years and beyond.
  • First-Ever CLE Conference This Friday

    On September 24, 2021, the Sikh Coalition’s first-ever virtual legal conference, Realizing Justice For All, will bring together legal professionals and law students from across the country to learn about the core civil rights issues facing Sikhs and other minority groups since 9/11. Hosted in partnership with Winston & Strawn LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, this conference will provide legal professionals and current law students the opportunity to acquire CLE accreditation in Elimination of Bias, Diversity, or Ethics depending on their state.

    Click here to review the full conference schedule, list of speakers, and registration requirements. Then, be sure to register for the conference before seats fill up! 
  • We Are Hiring

    Do you have a passion for civil rights? The Sikh Coalition is currently hiring for two full-time positions!

    The Executive Director serves as a hands-on manager who will build on and expand the Sikh Coalition’s foundation and legacy and lead the organization into its next phase of growth and development. They will oversee the day-to-day management of the organization.

    The Education Director will be a part of the Sikh Coalition’s senior leadership team and be responsible for leading our education campaigns while shaping new strategies to accurately include the Sikh community in American education. They will collaborate across all Sikh Coalition teams to create resources and content that align with the organization’s goals.
  • Professional Development Trainings for Baltimore Educators 

    On August 24, 2021, the Sikh Coalition provided professional development trainings for more than 95 K-12 educators at Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) in Maryland. In addition to learning how to teach about Sikhi in classrooms, educators were provided with free resources and lesson plans on the Sikh faith, community, and traditions. Thank you to BCPS administrators for inviting us to lead these trainings! To learn how you can bring Sikh awareness trainings to your school district, please email education@sikhcoalition.org.
  • Documenting Anti-Sikh Hate in the U.S.

    In August, Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager Nikki Singh and Senior Legal Client Manager Aasees Kaur authored a chapter on the history of anti-Sikh hate in the United States for “Hate Groups: A Reference Handbook,” a new book on U.S.-based hate groups. As a national civil rights organization committed to fighting anti-Sikh hate in all its forms, we are grateful to the handbook’s publisher, ABC-CLIO, for entrusting our colleagues to pen this topic for its future readers.

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